NATHAN DUNN – PLAY EXTRACT
This monologue comes at the climax, whereTOMMY, a young weatherman who talks too much, has a minor mental slip.
Home. Music. TOMMY goes to his infant son’s room and scrambles for chalk. He finds it. He scrawls along the floor and walls the following:
DEATH IS IN THE ROOM.
HANGING OVER US LIKE DARK CLOUD.
WAITING TO RAIN.
AND WHEN IT DOES, WE WILL ALL BE WET.
BUT ONLY SOME OF US WILL DROWN.
Silence. He examines the damage. He realises he still has his headset from work hanginground his neck. He places it on his head.
Silence. Then –
TOMMY: I don’t want to speak. I don’t speak because I want to. I speak because I need to listen to the sound of the words. I’m looking for something. A note. A tone. A chord. A sound that will take me away from myself. (Laughs.) Maybe I’m looking in the wrong place. Words make sense to me. They’re the only things that do. They mean what they say and – they say what they mean. They’re certain. So if I speak them, or write them, then maybe I’ll have found something. A place. Is it clear? Am I being clear? There’s no certainty in this life. It’s fleeting and sharp. It’s a scary life. We fear the things we don’t understand. And I don’t understand. This. It’s not what I thought it would be. And now, when the only thing I had left were my words and my voice. When they fail me, I…
He tries to grab hold of the words he has written, but as he does they smudge and disappear.
TOMMY: …when they fail me.
A break. TOMMY sits in the space, surrounded by his words. They are bigger than him.
TOMMY: I long for oblivion. In myself. There’s oblivion in the stars. Sounds can’t live there so my voice won’t. Because my voice has betrayed me so far. And my words don’t protect me. They let it all in. They expose me. And everyone else’s just stab at me. In space, there are no other sounds to understand, no other voices to try and interpret. I could marry the silence. But then, there’s oblivion in the past too. It isn’t here, it isn’t to come, it’s gone. I can’t think the way I did when I was young. That blissful ignorance of myself. It was my friend. It allowed me to truly be free. To think freely. But the past is not here, and I am not in the stars. I am stranded on this rock hurtling towards a future I do not know in a life that I do not understand. All I want is to be absent from myself. To live outside of myself. It consumes you, you know. It’s like a barrier around you that shuts everything else off and keeps you in. Disconnected. I just want to live on the outside. As far from me as possible. Even if it means I lose my words and my voice. Please?
Nathan is a playwright, theatre director, stand-up comedian, actor and lyricist from Sheffield now living and working in Liverpool.